|Mr. Monk's 100TH Case|
September 5, 2008
Eric McCormack as James Novak
|Monk Season 7|
|Season 6||Season 8|
A television news magazine called "In Focus" is airing a profile of Adrian Monk, and Monk is at the home of the show’s host, James Novak, for a viewing party. Natalie, Stottlemeyer, and Disher are all there to celebrate Monk’s big television debut. "In Focus" follows Monk as he tries to solve his one hundredth case, and the show is interspersed with interviews of Monk’s friends, family, and even some of the criminals he’s helped put away over the years.
As shown on "In Focus," the case begins when Monk is called to investigate the death of Cassandre Rank, an aspiring actress found strangled to death in the lobby of her apartment building. It seems like a crime of passion and a straight-up random attack, but Monk notices that the victim was checking her mail when she was killed, and also notices that the killer took the victim's lipstick - her lipstick is on her coffee cup and there is some on her lips, but it is missing from her purse. Furthermore, the hole the killer broke through the door when he broke in appears to have been made after the murder, since the glass shards are all on top of the body and there are none underneath. It is clear that the victim and the killer knew each other.
Unfortunately, there are no leads in the case, and days later another young actress, Barbara McFarland, is strangled to death in her apartment. Again, there are no signs of forced entry, and again the victim’s lipstick is missing. The two victims are found to have both worked at a local restaurant, but when Monk and Natalie visit they establishment, they find nothing. The case continues to confound when a third actress, Miranda Terhume, is killed the same way. There appears to be no connection between this latest victim and the previous two. Although the M.O. is identical, the case is moving sideways because none of the victims have anything in common. After a few days, Monk makes a keen observation: all three of the victims had their headshots taken by a local photographer, Douglas Thurman (the link is also very obvious, since his watermark is posted on each image).
Thurman is brought in for interrogation, but despite the overwhelming evidence, he denies everything, and Stottlemeyer and Disher are forced to release him. He disappears that afternoon when he fails to show up for a polygraph test. The next morning, the police get search warrants, and a SWAT team raids Thurman's studio and finds all of the evidence needed to convict him: an eerie shrine to the three victims, each victim's portrait having her respective lipstick smeared on it. Unfortunately, Thurman has disappeared, and soon after the raid, another young actress, Kate Kindel, is found killed in the same way.
While they are the scene, they get a relieving phone call - Thurman has been found at a motel in Southern California. As the SWAT teams close in, Thurman chooses to kill himself rather than surrender. Thurman’s reign of terror appears to be over, and the episode of “In Focus” wraps up to a round of applause from those at the viewing party.
But Monk has been unable to join the party, feeling that he's missed something important, and he begins to think aloud at the party about several holes in Kate Kindel's murder:
- Kate Kindel was killed 50 miles north of San Francisco. Yet when Thurman killed himself, he had Mexican currency in his wallet, as he was fleeing south towards Mexico (probably because he knew he couldn't be extradited). Why would Thurman go that far out of the way to commit a fourth murder when the cops were after him?
- Kindel was strangled from behind whereas the first three victims were strangled from in front.
At Monk's suggestion, they rewind the DVR of the show to when the SWAT team raids Douglas Thurman’s studio. Monk notices a crucial detail: comparing "before" and "after" shots as the camera moves back and forth across the studio, he notices that in the "before" shots, all of the film cannisters on one desk are lying sideways, but in the "after" shots, there is an additional one that is just standing up. Disher remembers that that particular cannister is the one that they found photos of Kate Kindel on.
Then, Monk asks to fast forward to a scene in Kate Kindel’s apartment. In the scene, when Monk asks for someone to turn on a light, Novak flips on a light switch to turn on the lamp right next to Monk. In the present day, Monk points out to Novak that there were several light switches on that panel, and it was the fourth one that turned on that particular lamp. He could only have known which light switches were for what if he had been there before the murder. He concludes that while Thurman did kill the first three victims, Kindel was killed by someone else.
Earlier in the episode, there have been repeat signs that there is trouble in paradise: Novak flirts shamelessly with several of the women at the party, including Randy's new girlfriend Jillian, an aspiring actress who specializes in being murdered on camera (including the re-enactment of Kate Kindel's murder for the show). When he has her in a corner, Jillian acts embarrassed over a gaffe she has made, and Novak soothes her that everyone makes mistakes - his, he confides, was his wife, Melissa.
Here's What HappenedEdit
Monk believes that Novak and Kindel were having an affair and Kindel might have threatened to tell Novak's wife about it, and Novak decided that she had to be killed, but he needed an opportune moment. When Thurman's killing spree began, Novak got lucky: he and his camera crew got to know about many additional details that the police did not release to the public, including the killer's M.O. and some details about the crime scenes. This also allowed Novak to know when the SWAT team would be raiding Thurman's photography studio.
The night before the raid, Novak went to Kindel's apartment, tricked her into posing for some photographs he took with an old camera that utilized film (Thurman was a rare case of a photographer who still used real film at the time), after which he killed her, and took her lipstick as he knew Thurman would have done. The next morning, he followed the SWAT team during the raid and planted the roll of film to make Kindel appear to be just another unlucky client of the homicidal photographer.
Natalie chides Novak for not paying attention to his own show: Monk is never wrong, and he misses nothing. Novak scoffs, saying there is no proof. But Melissa coldly interjects that, on the night of the murder, she went through James's pockets after he came home, late at night, and found a lipstick. If the lipstick tests positive for Kindel’s DNA, which it obviously will, Novak is caught.
As Melissa hands the lipstick to Randy, Novak pulls out a gun and orders him to hand it over. Randy, exchanging a glance with Stottlemeyer, tosses the lipstick, distracting Novak for the second Stottlemeyer neads to sneak beside him, grab the gun, and deck Novak with a punch. The gun goes off, and Jillian crumples, clutching her side. Randy panics and yells for an ambulance, but then Jillian realizes that she's untouched, and apologizes - "force of habit" she explains. Randy compliments her on her performance, and the two kiss lovingly - leaving the rest of the company baffled.
Later, Natalie triumphantly reads the ironic newspaper story of Novak's arrest. Monk, reflecting that one hundred cases is a nice, even number, considers retiring from detective work. Natalie reminds him that the cases of Douglas Thurman and James Novak are separate from one another, meaning that Monk has in fact solved a hundred and one. With Monk standing on such an uneven number, he won’t be retiring any time soon, which is very bad news for the criminals of San Francisco.
Background Information and NotesEdit
- The opening montage features crime-scene photos of Debbie Ringel and Tony Gamelobo, the featured victims of "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan" and "Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure, respectively.
- Brooke Adams, Tony Shalhoub's real-life wife, reprises her role as flight attendant Leigh Harrison from Season One's "Mr. Monk and the Airplane." Adams played three other characters on the show, Abigail Carlyle from Season Three's "Mr. Monk and the Kid", Sheriff Margie Butterworth from Season Five's "Mr. Monk Visits a Farm" and Mrs. Edith Capriani in "Mr. Monk and the Badge."
- The criminals caught by Monk interviewed in prison include:
- Jimmy Belmont from "Mr. Monk Visits a Farm";
- Arlene Boras from "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man";
- Joey Krenshaw (Harold's cousin) from "Mr. Monk and the Daredevil";
- Ralph "Father" Roberts from "Mr. Monk Joins a Cult" (Interestingly, he is the only one of the prison interviewees who wasn't arrested in the episode he appeared in, implying that he committed a crime later on);
- Hal Tucker from "Mr. Monk Makes a Friend"
- Also, Linda Fusco makes a cameo appearance after being caught for murder in "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend."
- Sarah Silverman re-appears as Marci Maven from "Mr. Monk and the TV Star" and "Mr. Monk and his Biggest Fan" (although at the end of the latter episode she claimed that she had gotten over her obsession with Monk).
- Kathryn Joosten played Nurse Stempel in Season Two's "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect"; this makes her the third actress, after Brooke Adams and Gail O'Grady, to play two different characters on the show.
- John Turturro's third and final appearance as Ambrose Monk.
- Jarrad Paul makes an uncredited appearance as Kevin Dorfman.
- During the last scene, Monk and Natalie are scanning the newspaper headlines for other likely cases to solve. Monk notices an item about a TV writer who got shot dead after a contract dispute - a possible inside joke on the show's writing staff.
- Aimee Bell, the actress who played Kate Kindel (the fourth victim) is also a stuntwoman who has doubled for both Traylor Howard and Sharon Lawrence in past episodes of the show.
- Bitty Schram was notable for not showing up on the show for an interview, even though she's had far more face-time with Monk than any of the other characters interviewed.